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Mayawati claims support of two
dozen SP MLAs


June 12, 2003 23:01 IST

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday claimed the support of some two-dozen Samajwadi Party MLAs, even as the opposition dared her to convene the assembly to prove it.

"I do not want to take their names. But they told me that they are very unhappy and assured me 'whenever you need us, we will support you'," Mayawati told reporters, at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, on her arrival after a 15-day foreign jaunt.

Mayawati said Mulayam Singh Yadav had received information about these MLAs who are ready to support her. "Therefore to stop his party from breaking and prevent his MLAs from switching allegiance, he makes statements that our government is about to fall," she said.

Rejecting her claim Samajwadi Party state unit chief Ram Saran Das and Congress spokesman Akhilesh Singh asked her to convene the house to prove her majority.

"Her statement however has only confirmed our fears that she would now be channeling her energies on engineering defections in the opposition in order to remain in power," Singh said.

Das claimed Mayawati's statement was aimed at diverting attention from the unity in the Bahujan Samaj Party-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition where the MLAs were now mentally prepared to switch sides in order to secure their future.

Contrary to Mayawati's claims, Das said as many as 20 to 22 BSP MLAs are in touch with the Samajwadi Party and are biding their time to defect.

Though the Rashtriya Lok Dal with 14 MLAs withdrew from the BSP-BJP coalition on May 29, which the opposition said reduced the strength of the ruling coalition, an unfazed Mayawati embarked on her fortnight-long US tour to invite foreign investors to her state.

On Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri virtually rejected the opposition claim saying there was no evidence to support loss of support for Mayawati.

In the chief minister's absence, Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh held consultations with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and followed it up with a meeting with Ajit Singh to mobilise support to dislodge the ruling Uttar Pradesh coalition.

But, their campaign apparently lost steam when they realised they lacked the number to topple the government and decided not to parade the MLAs supporting them before the governor.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav brushed aside Mayawati's claim saying he had nothing to say. "I do not want to comment. In fact, I have never commented on any of her claims," he said.

Yadav said that ever since his party MLAs were elected to the assembly, there was not a single occasion when he had to issue any clarification about anyone of them. "Neither have we put the MLAs together anywhere," he said.


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